"I really like the idea of presenting this sort of like, hopefully well-designed vegan environment in a way that doesn't involve Birkenstocks and mashed yeast," said Moby, who will celebrate his 28-year vegan anniversary on Thanksgiving. "If someone wants to wear Birkenstocks, they should, but this is not the old cliched, joyless veganism."
Moby, who is opening the restaurant with chef Kristyne Starling (former chef de cuisine at Aventine), says the menu "won't be eclectic," and that you shouldn't expect "tacos, sushi and hummus." Planned opening items include a panzanella; farro walnut salad with pomegranate; Mediterranean salad with olives and avocado; meatballs and polenta; and his favorite, a trio of stuffed shells.
"When I was growing up, around 8 or 9, my favorite food was stuffed shells," said Moby. "My mom would take those big semolina shells and stuff them with ricotta. So we are doing our version of that."
Stuffed shells a la Little Pine include an olive- and pesto-stuffed shell, a roasted artichoke- and cream sauce-stuffed shell and a spinach- and ricotta-stuffed shell with marinara.
And everything on the menu will be 100% organic, regardless of the restaurant's financial situation.
"If we are losing money, I can't sacrifice the quality of the food we serve," said Moby. "I would rather honestly have a restaurant that is 100% organic and loses a little bit of money, than serve compromised food that makes money. I don't see the point in serving anything that I wouldn't have in my house."
The restaurant will serve beer, wine, Champagne, hard cider, Champagne cocktails and other low-alcohol cocktails, as well as two types of sangria. Moby, who no longer drinks, says he will help conceptualize the cocktail menu.
Little Pine will also include a small retail space in the front — something the city required due to the number of parking spaces in the adjacent lot.
"It's really absurdly hand-curated," said Moby. "Like the criteria for choosing stuff is, 'Would I want it in my house?' It's just art books from friends of mine who are artists, some candles that smell nice, teas, soaps. Just basically if I would have it in my house or give it as a gift, then I'm happy to sell it."
Moby also had a hand in the design, and worked with the L.A.-based Studio Hus. The room features lots of pinewood, a long banquette with patterned pillows and a larger dining table tucked into a cozy nook, where you'll find a wall covered in one of Moby's prints of snow-covered trees from Mt. Baldy.
And in case you're wondering, the playlist will not be a running loop of Moby's greatest hits. It will change throughout the day, and the entire staff contributed. Mornings will be classical music, singer-songwriters and old jazz; and as the day progresses, the playlist will get a little more modern.
"I want mornings to be very calm," said Moby. "If I go out for breakfast, as much as I love Jay Z, I don't want to hear Jay Z in a vegan restaurant at 8:30 in the morning. I'm known for being associated with the dance world, but there will be no banging EDM tracks in here."
Little Pine will be open seven days a week from 7:30 a.m. to midnight.
2870 Rowena Ave., Los Angeles, www.littlepinerestaurant.com.